Retrograde trafficking from the Golgi to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) depends on the formation of vesicles coated with the multiprotein complex COPI. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae ubiquitinated derivatives of several COPI subunits have been identified. The importance of this modification of COPI proteins is unknown. With the exception of the Sec27 protein (β'COP) neither the ubiquitin ligase responsible for ubiquitination of COPI subunits nor the importance of this modification are known. Here we find that the ubiquitin ligase mutation, rsp5-1, has a negative effect that is additive with ret1-1 and sec28Δ mutations, in genes encoding α- and ε-COP, respectively. The double ret1-1 rsp5-1 mutant is also more severely defective in the Golgi-to-ER trafficking compared to the single ret1-1, secreting more of the ER chaperone Kar2p, localizing Rer1p mostly to the vacuole, and increasing sensitivity to neomycin. Overexpression of ubiquitin in ret1-1 rsp5-1 mutant suppresses vacuolar accumulation of Rer1p. We found that the effect of rsp5 mutation on the Golgi-to-ER trafficking is similar to that of sla1Δ mutation in a gene encoding actin cytoskeleton proteins, an Rsp5p substrate. Additionally, Rsp5 and Sla1 proteins were found by co-immunoprecipitation in a complex containing COPI subunits. Together, our results show that Rsp5 ligase plays a role in regulating retrograde Golgi-to-ER trafficking.
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